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« How we present and "teach" social marketing | Main | Ask first. It can help frame the social marketing conversation »

February 16, 2009


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Anna West

Yes, the challenge at the moment is to get young people to go beyond seeing digital media as just a means of chatting with their friends. The other challenge is to get them to explore emerging digital media and start learning how to anticipate upcoming trends. Dr. Soo Yeon Hong is doing a good job of pushing her PR grad students out of their digital media comfort zone. Other than speaking to them in person, she only uses new forms of digital media to communicate with them. For example, each student has to have a twitter account because that is how Soo will send out a homework assignment. Another assignment may be distributed via flikr mail. So the students have no choice but to integrate, explore and...ideally...master digital communication platforms.

What is interesting is to witness and participate in the budding combination of the type of intelligent strategies that you used for, say, snagajob.com, and social marketing platforms.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, thanks for talking to the class. Every student I talked to praised the presentation to the highest degree. (No small feat! They can be a tough audience.)

Tillie Wilkinson

Thank you for taking the time to come in and visit with us today. As a student about to graduate in such a tough job market any professional guidance is much appreciated.

I like how you talked about using the social networks as a tool. I personally used Facebook last semester in my PR Research class to help conduct a survey on campus security. With using a Facebook group my we were easily able to contact numerous VCU students and collected the data necessary to complete our project. However, when we presented to our client we suggested using Facebook and Myspace as a way to communicate campus security to students but they were not as accepting to the idea as we had expected. Do you think with time maybe people in the "over-40 set" will be more accustomed to these networking tools and more accepting?

Thank you again for your time!

Elizabeth Sosnow

"When I asked how many of them were personally using "social marketing platforms, only a few raised their hand. But when I asked how many were on Facebook all of them did."

I enjoyed your post and it raised a question I've been thinking about alot. Namely, where are these Gen Y folks going to go next? Facebook is aging out and MySpace is static. I wish some of them had been able to flag a new gathering spot. But I guess that is the new Holy Grail for many marketers...

Elizabeth Sosnow

Steve Mullen

Tillie - I think more "over 40" people than you may realize are already using social networking. I've heard more than one story people who were "friended" unexpectedly by a parent on Facebook. I doubt we'll see a flood of 60-something people on Facebook, but the 40 and 50-somethings are finding it and using it.

Steve Mullen
EndGame PR

Chelsea Hughes

Mr. Newman,

Thank you for the wonderful presentation this morning in our class. I learned so much about PR from this presentation alone. First of all, I had no idea that Snagajob.com was based here in Richmond. Also, learning about the campaign was awesome. I believe that this really showed me how PR can be a powerful tool in this world today. I will be graduating in May and although I started applying for jobs already, I still have no idea whether I want to work for a PR firm or a non-profit. I like how your agency works with a diverse set of clients.

The Snagajob.com campaign is a great example for us to look back on when working on our campaign. I took great notes on the campaign development information you gave us. I really love "The Mantra" concept and that is something I will never forget!

Thank you so much for your insight today in our class. I will definitely become a fan of Hodges Partnership on Facebook.

-Chelsea Hughes (PR student at VCU)

Julie Bonn Heath

There is a dead link on this one above: @againer

Thanks for posting about your experience, Jon. This has been a frustration of mine for a long time. I don't mind teaching interns about social marketing but truly this does belong in our college curriculum. I planned on posting about this today as well but will wait for later in the week and will reference this.

Its absolutely vital that our colleges get on board with social marketing. We have wonderful students coming out-ready to work-but strictly trained in old school. It gives them an immediate disadvantage for gaining employment and decreases their effectiveness as a PR pro.

The PR agencies also need to get in touch with the times and I am glad your agency is seeking to do so. I have had three agencies approach me in the past month about helping them with social marketing (clients are requesting it) because they have no experience there.


Steve Mullen

More than anything else, I'm getting a kick out of Jon being called "Mr. Newman".

Kristen Turley, APR

Jon, I really appreciate this post. I too have preconceived ideas on what academic PR programs are teaching up and coming students. It's a pleasure to see a program that "gets it". I agree with Julie that more universities need to get on-board with teaching social marketing. I hope that more programs will look at what VCU and other schools like this for best practice examples that they can use in revamping outdated PR programs. I certainly plan on passing this along to PR professors in my professional network to encourage them to look at new ways of teaching PR and social marketing.


Lisa Clarke

The most beneficial part of your presentation was finding out what you do in a company on a day to day basis. I always feel like the more I hear about working in a company the more questions I have. It was very beneficial to see the work your company had completed since the scariest part for me is finding a job in May and knowing how your company works gave me an insight to something I would see in the future.
I really appreciate you taking the time out to come and speak to us and answer any and all of our questions. The beginning of your blog worried me a little but I do agree that what we're doing in class will really help us be prepared when it comes time to impress. Thanks again

Abdullah Al Enezi

Monday's presentation was indeed different than all others. Thank you so much for sharing with us your expertise, that was very kind of you. You really gave us a heads-up for our future PR work and how powerful it can be. I hope we all become as successful as The Hodges Partnership.

Rebeca Trautner

What an insightful post, thanks Jon. It really made me wish I had a professor like Dr. Soo Yeon Hong when I was in school!

Natalie Oddenino

The presentation you and your partner gave to us at VCU on Monday was extremely impressionable to me and I'm sure the rest of my classmates. I've already spoken to many people about how your company helped Snagajob.com blossom to what it is today. I felt that you all covered or at least touched on, every aspect of creating a PR campaign in a very realistic, clear way which is helpful for us while we are developing our own campaign. Now if only we could be as successful with the same media personnel!

I understand your perception of students not having the general go-getter attitude, but I have to say VCU senior PR level courses and internships do allow us to have the opportunity to operate hands-on with clients. When I first began my internship last year, I preferred to use social marketing platforms because they are less intimidating to our generation, granted they are being used slightly different. Over the past year I’ve started feeling more comfortable with contacting traditional media. I think it just takes some warming up and building confidence to try to establish media relationships, because this is an aspect we really haven’t been exposed to in school. As an established PR practitioner, what advice would you give to future graduates about the best way to initiate and establish media relationships?

Thank you again!

Lisa Huth

Jon, thank you for the time you took out of your busy schedule to speak to our PR Campaigns class. After reading you blog entry I have more of a feel for what you and other PR practitioners are looking for when hiring. It is good to know that you feel so highly about VCU's PR program and that we are in the right hands. Knowing that, I feel like I have the knowledge to get the career I want in PR it is just up to me know to get out there and show that I have this knowledge.

Before you presentation I only looked at social networking sites as a way to talk and interact with friends. Now I know that these sites such as facebook and twitter are much more than that, if you choose to use them in a way as marketing yourself, company, or product.

Thank you again! The advice you gave was great information and I will take it with me as I go out looking for a career and afterwards. I plan on continuing to read your blog on a regular bases.

Lisa Huth


I know I was off in the desert, but how did I miss the David Gregory story?? I need full details tomorrow. And on the other post about making sure you and the room are on the same page before you begin a social media discussion - reminds me of the time I first showed my mom the Internet. She couldn't get past "who owned it?" We must have circled that for 20 minutes before I could introduce her to the concept of e-mail.

Gerson dos Santos

Jon it was nice to watch the presentation and learn more about the field of public relations. You gave a lot of insight on how we as future PR professionals need to be more attentive to the opportunities that social media presents to us. Working with an advertising group in our campaign shows that many PR students are unclear about how public relations and advertising professionals have to work together. Your explanations helped me to identify the different responsibilities that each group holds result in a successful campaign.

Thank you so much!

best digital pr firms

Very interesting! I wish I had a professor like Dr. Soo Yeon Hong when I was in school, he's great!



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